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>> you're the world's scapegoat in chief. >> absolutely. there is a scapegoat function of the u.n., but member states and the media have to be very careful not to dump on us so much that we won't even be useful as an alibi. >> more with kofi annan, interviewed by caddy kay on "after words w" tonight at 10 p.m. >> brian castner, a bronze star recipient who completed two tours of duty in iraq as a commander of an explosive disposal unit, talks about the impact of the war upon his return. this is about 50 minutes. [applause] >> thank you. thanks to everybody for coming. um, this is quite a crowd.
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we've got standing room only, and that's a wonderful thing. just want to take a second to acknowledge my wife is here, jesse, i dedicated the book to her, and my folks are here, and lots of friendly faces in the audience from various communities in buffalo, so i appreciate that. thank you all for coming. what i'd hoped to do was talk a little bit, first, about the book, then do a reading, a short reading. i, i recorded the audio book. i was lucky enough to do that. so if you really want to hear my voice do the whole thing, you can do that. so i'll do kind of a short section, and then we'll do some question and answer at the end, if that works. where i wanted to start was talking about a trip that i made in may. the first weekend in may every year is the eod memorial down in florida. and eod can, i'm going to say that a lot, that's explosive ordnance disposal, that's the bomb squad, it's what i did, it's my career field. and every year we have a ceremony o put the names on the
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wall of all of the men and women who died in that last year. we have a memorial wall, there's four panels to that wall, one for each of the services. and it's just a list of names and dates of who they were and their rank and when they died. and so every year in may if they died in the last year, we go down, and we honor them, and they read every name every year, and then they say something about the folks that died that last year. so i went down in may because i had a very, very good friend that died in january. the, you know, the closest of close friends, um, his wife so close to my wife, my kids are the same age as his kids, you know, so really important to us. so i had not been for a couple years, but we went down in the year. we put 18 names on the wall this year. so that was the most since 1945. it was a really, really -- it
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was a really bad year. and when they read all the names, it took 'em 22 minutes to read all the names this year of everybody on the wall from the first ensign in the 1940s all the way to the very last one. so i start by talking about that for a couple reasons. one is, you know, there were a thousand people that came to that. active duty service members, guys who got out like me, veterans, all the family members. when i wrote the book, i'm thinking about them. and when i think about, you know, when i lay awake at night thinking about how the book is going to be received, you know, i don't think about the critics in new york or, you know, the coverage i'm going to get in a paper, whatever else. that's all wonderful and nice, and can it's wonderful to see, and it's very gratifying. but what i really think about is how are those guys going to feel
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about my book. and will it feel right to them, and will it make sense to them. and there's an old tradition in the eod world that if your name appears in the paper, or if you're on tv, you know a case of beer to the unit, okay? [laughter] now, there's a couple reasons for this. one is, uni guys like to drin beer. [laughter] we're not afraid on a friday to pop a few open and kind of, you know, be done with the week. the other reason is, it's an encouragement to really just keep your mouth shut. nobody needs to know what you're doing. just do your job and go home, and everybody in that community knows what you're doing, but you don't need to talk to anybody else about it. well, i broke that rule, right? i wrote, i wrote a whole book, so i've kind of, i've kind of accepted that i owe beer everywhere i go, you know, from now on. [laughter]
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so, um, so i broke that rule. so it's really important to me that i, um, the feedback that i get from the guys. and i'm extremely lucky, and i feel fortunate and really, really very grateful that everything i have heard so far has just been overwhelmingly positive. guys in the book are saying thank you for putting us in the book, we're honored to be in the book. they're saying things like we feel the same way, and you just made it okay to say so, and that's just the most overwhelmingly, you know -- i'm just overcome by that. and i feel like it should go the other way. i feel like i'm honored and thankful that they let me tell, you know, a little bit of their story when i do this. the other reason i wanted to start with the eod memorial is because it's, it reminds me how grateful i am that my tours were so easy.
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and, um, you know, just what an average experience i had, what a really, you know, my unit -- it's not like we lost a whole bunch of guys, it's not like, it's not like we got caught on some afghan mountaintop and i was the only survivor, something like that. nothing like that. i had an average tour, you know, i did my job, and i came home. and when i look around at that group, the number of missing arms and legs and burns and everything else, you know, it brings that all, brings that all home. um, so what was my average experience? so i was a bomb tech which means that we take apart the ieds, and is we, we go to blast scenes, places where a car bomb or an ied has already gone off, and we collect the evidence and try to figure out who did that. we try to blow up as much, as many weapons caches as we can possibly find so they can't make an ied to begin with. i did all of that. i did a couple tours, i did
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three total, one in saudi arabia over 2001 when i wasn't yet a bomb tech and then two in iraq, one in balad, one in kirkuk. came home, moved back to buffalo in 2007, and i thought everything was fine. i got a job for a couple years until one day when it wasn't fine anymore. and and i guess that's really what i wrote the book about which was the struggle to figure out what was wrong when i got home and then the things i did over there. something was happening to me physically that i didn't want understand. i -- i didn't understand. i had a physical reaction. i wasn't, i didn't feel worried or stressed, and i wasn't having nightmares, and i wasn't jumping at car doors, and i wasn't doing all these stereotypical things that they tell you is what the, is what ptsd is going to look like or any of those coming home issues are going to be like. i had a physical feeling in my chest that i had no name for, and so i went to the emergency room. for a heart attack.
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and i went back a couple times. and it was never a heart attack. and they hooked me up to all the monitors and the ekg and everything else. no, it's -- there's nothing physically wrong with you. so then i got referred, i guess the system worked a little bit, i would not have put myself in the right office. they referred me to the right office. and i eventually ended up in the mental health clinic which, once again, helped me with a lot of this. i refer, or i remember, i should say, the day, um, that i realized that i could write a book or maybe writing a book was a good idea. i was taking a lot of notes, i was scribbling things for the therapist, and i was going on one of my runs. that was one of the few feelings that helped it go away because i was so tired. and i dropped my son off at a soccer game or a soccer practice, and then i ran from his school down white haven road
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to the river and back which is about 8 miles. and i remember the moment where i said, you know, maybe this was something i could do. so i took a year, and i wrote the book. um, i -- you know, i had written before. when i moved back to buffalo in 2007, i wrote this little thing for "newsweek," you know, about how strange it was to be moving from las vegas to buffalo. and, you know, so i guess i had written before to make sense of the world, but i was so down deep in whatever i was in, writing about it didn't really make sense as a thing to do until my therapist recommended it and that day when i was running. so i'm going to, i'm going to talk about or i'm going to read now kind of a couple of those different kinds of sections. when i thought about what to read, i had a couple considerations. one of which is that this book doesn't really go in chronological order. it doesn't start in iraq and then move through. everything is all mixed together because that's how it felt to
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me. it felt like i was over there, and i was back here, everything all at the same time. so to organize my thoughts, i had this giant sheet of butcher paper that i put on the wall, and i color coded all the different sections and vignettes in different colors, one color for things in the past in the war and a different color for the present-day things and what was going on now, and then with the crazy feeling, which is what i call it, crazy with a capital c, and then a final one for kind of the therapy and how some of my recovery. and there wasn't a lot of that color. there was mostly, there was mostly the other two colors. so i'm going to kind of read one of each of those. the other thing that i need, that i need to think about is, as you might have already noticed, i don't have that much of a filter anymore. one of the issues with some of my -- i have very, very mild, once again i'm very lucky, i have very mild traumatic brain
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injury that's kind of an occupational exposure issue. you can't blow stuff up for years and have it not, you know, effect your head. so i have a bunch, i have some long-term memory loss, i have a couple little sleep things, i also have no filter. so it's just the way i'm wired. i get emotional pretty easily. i'm not really embarrassed about it, it's just the way i work now. but, you know, i got emotional while writing the book, and if i was crying while i was writing, i figured i was doing a good job, you know? that was a sign to me that what i was writing, you know, was working. so for the benefits of television and everybody else, i'm just going to try not to -- [laughter] i'm going to try to get through this. so the first part that i want to read is from chapter four which is titled "the daily grind." and this is kind of an introduction to what things were like, what things were like over there. the rehearsed ballet began when
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a call came in. a bomb squad doesn't drive around town all day searching for ieds anymore than firefighters look for plumes of smoke on the horizon. instead, the entire compound waited in the perpetual anticipation, one ear trained for the phone, muscle and concrete taut in preparation, a coiled spring. armored trucks lay in wait in the yard, noses toward the gate, robots loaded, explosives stored, doors open and at the ready. team sorted gear, packed and repacked, checked and rechecked. every day the explosives were inventoried and refreshed. every day the robot batteries were swapped, every day the jammer was turned on and cycled. every day the bomb suit came out of each truck to inspect the pants and suspenders and spine guard, the zipper and ties, the diaper that swaddles your groin, the heavy overcoat and front kevlar plate, quick release tabs, helmet and air snorkel,
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microphone and power fan electrical connections, a line of fresh batteries and a wipe of the 2-inch-thick visor. no one started a task they could not quickly put aside. some cleaned their rifles over and over again. over others fretted over the last e-mail from their wife or girlfriend. one slept with one eye open. eubanks slipped on a hugh hefner silk robe. took a seat to wait with a cup of specially-prepared fancy coffee. jeter pored over supply inventories and complained that no one completed their paperwork right. mitchell and fisk smoked and joked the minutes away. i endlessly read reports, wrote reports, rewrote reports and justified not having to write reports. ill filled the time -- it filled the time between phone calls.
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the ops desk, continuously manned, existed simply to answer that phone for a call. sometimes there was a warning of a call, thunder in the distance on a clear day, a black cloud hanging over the city. usually we were not so fortunate. monotony, a string of tasks, the long wait and then, piercing the quiet, a ring. the ring. time to go on a call. if i close my eyes now and let my mind drift, i can see every ritualized movement, every inch of concrete crossed, every step between my desk and the waiting armored truck. the papers thumb tacked next to the phone, the computer that prints maps of the location of each call, the dust on the gray floor, the placement of my pistol in the gun rack, the metal peg on the blast doors where my body armor hung, the contents of every pocket. my brain has been torn and ripped by explosions. memories of my children are
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faded, blown apart in each blast, so how do i remember every second of the move to a call? i am surrounded by reminders, they come unbidden, springing to mind. every pair of boots i own are sandy, my rifle is always waiting for me, my children's first steps are my walk to the truck. when the phone rang and we knew it was a call, i began to write. out of the office that i share with the the phone and the ops desk and the big map of kirkuk on the wall. i yell to the team on standby, time to wake up, time to go. to the gun rack where i unbuckled my pants and tucked in my long desert camouflage blouse to get it out of the way. .9 mm pistol first, rifle next out of the rack, in my hand then out of the ramshackle work space. across the dirty floor, past the racks of sparrow bots and radios and 50-caliber sniper rifles. to my gear, rifle down, pistol
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out. body armor on first. tactical vest on top covered in pouches and pockets, containing six rifle magazines. extra pistol mag, flashlight, crimpers, weatherman tool, knife, a note from if my wife begging me to come home, the rosary from my dead aunt mary and a scamular -- scam lahr so when ityed, i wasn't going to -- when i died, i wasn't going to hell. no matter what i had done on the call. see? it's -- [laughter] it comes all the time now. pistol in the crossdraw holster on my front left side. helmet on my head, sunglasses. rifle magazine in, bolt forward, round in the chamber. i could do it today. i do it every day. then back to the ops desk --
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the weekly serving of pork dusk. a suspicious looking white trash bag called in by a hesitant patrol that turns out to be nothing. midnight showers of steaks and pancake. discovered by a long convoy in the dark desert. a cold breakfast. and finally, exhausted in delair use. sleep. it was never today. it was yesterday and tomorrow. the worst calls were the one after midnight in the earliest predawn. sometimes you just know a call is coming. you can feel it in the air. your spine tingles. maybe it was a quite day. maybe it was good weather. he doesn't like the cold or the rain, a long, hot, quite day
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means a long, hot, busy night. when you know a call is coming you stay up late. no point going to sleep. a call doesn't come 2200. do you think we're getting any calls tonight you ask? no, why don't you hit the rack answers linebackers body. massive black arms the size of your chest. he guards the phone each night and suffers worse insomnia than you. you wander over to the adjacent room and play video games. it's refleshingly simple. it's 23002330 still no call. you hang out any longer. your eyes are closing on their own. price, i'm giving up for the night. sounds good, sir. i half hour later he is banging on your door with a call.
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a string of pressure switch contracts christmas light style. so you roll off the cot, and start the ritual. gear on. grab a caffeine energy drink. hop in. and slam the drink. open the door, puke on the awaiting dirt and ready to run all night long on a half hour of sleep. out of you go. outside the wire, past the guards within and spotlights and blast barriers and gates in to the unknown. so that's what it was like over there on maybe a typical day. why got back here, i'm going read just a really short section what it's like to walk in the va hospital. it would be three blocks from here. is four blocks. i spend more and more of my time
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at the va hospital now. tall, gray, and four rings with a skull cap at the top. veterans hospital is the sorrow and less. it could double in size and still wouldn't be big enough to contain the misery it houses. i started as patient in the room for heart trouble. it turns out i was crazy not cardiac. so now i go to mental health in the tenth floor instead of the longer elevator ride give use relief to feel healthier comparing yourself to other. amputee combat or diabetes. slumped in flimsy gowns and baseball hats. veterans keeping out the winter chill. covered in patches that read, these colors don't run. and never forget, pow and mia.
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younger guys too short hair taking the trip all the way to ten with me. one guy is a tan t-shirt with a comic style book soldier. his am dated right leg replaced with a running prosthetic. along the side written you should have killed me when you had the chance. you look at the floor, so do they. you check your rifle. so think do they. you walk up to the same check in counter you sit in the same waiting room. you wait for your talk about to talk about the crazy in silence. then i have one more here, which is i mentioned there were three sections. so i've done the wartime section and that last one under treatment, i guess. so one more of kind what it felt like day-to-day.
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let me work through this one a little bit, i guess. i'm a alone in the full bed. alone with the crazy. and the bed or the spiders crawl out of my head and the feeling presses down crush me. always bubbling and boiling and intolerable. it swells you to burst again. crawling out of my skin. it's been three and a half months now, the crazy hasn't let up yet. me wife rolls over and pretended to be asleep. we have gone to bed without speaking again. she's wearing a yellow t-shirt with a nightgown words with iraq em blaze end across the front in bold letters. you get a t-shirt for everything nowadays. rubbing a race, opening a impact, giving blood, elbowing your neighbor to catch a shot from a minor league baseball game. i have one for fighting battle creek forresist fire in south dakota. a t-shirt for a firefighter.
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why not one for fighting a war. my wife is alone in the full bed too. her husband, the father of her children, never came back from iraq. she tells me that i didn't laugh. not once for an entire year after i got back. crazy was like dead to her. i know, she's strong enough to handled it, the girl i met our senior year straight as future emergency room nurse, college swim team was strong enough. strong enough to deal with my deployment. strong enough to wait for the knock on the door strong enough to deal with a crazy husband. strong enough to raise our sons by herself. strong enough if called upon to 0 open the letter i wrote before i left to be read to our boys if i came home in a bag explaining why their father went away to die in a city they can't find on a map. to this day, that letter sits in a small safe inches away where i sit and type. it sits that that safe unopened and undiscarded i don't remember
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what i wrote and i can't bear to look to find out. but my wife could have done it. she is strong enough. she's not scare of the sands. it if she needs to cry herself to sleep, she needs to cry. if she needs to not speak, then he will stay silent. it it she needs to reap life to support four ons then she will do what she needs to do. she can hack it. she's going have to. what can i do about it now lying in bed alone? i'm crazy. our marriage counselor, fat and sweaty, fingers intertwined and resting on the shelf of his symptommic diagnosed the situation. why is the war still in your house he huffed? get it out of your bed. too late. we are in a bed full of rifles and helicopters and twitching eyes and the blue kin ask and the foot in the box. my wife sleeps next to the shade
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of a dead man. i sleep alone with the as crazy and the crai fingers take the top of my head off and eat my brains while i stair at the ceiling in my solitary bed. thank you. [applause] [applause] [applause] that could have been a lot worse. i'm -- [laughter] thank you for bearing we many. i would like to do questions now. i have a microphone, of course, i think john is going help out with that. and i wrote a book about everything. there's literally like not a topic you can't ask about. please, ask whatever while i sip my water here. >> when you consider that u.s. actuallily involved in 120
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countries [inaudible] to africa, there was an article by david yesterday [inaudible] talks about the increasing bases and the lily pads that u.s. engage in. there will be many other young men like you, what does it take from your perspective for the american people to understand that this is our lives and even intelligence agent said the innovation of iraq would create more terrorist. >> i guess the important part from my perspective is that the people that i was with, i served with republicans and democrats, and people that supported going in and people that didn't support going in, and at the end of the day, like, at the level that we're at, none of it matters because nobody is picking up a roifl or not because of some speech given in washington. you're there for your friends,
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guys who maybe don't even support the war, they stay on, that reup, reinlest because the friends are going back. if their friends are going, they want to go. because you want to be there to protect the people to protect the people that you're with. i have often asked myself, i guess a very similar question, which -- because when i got back, my first job was to train my first and only before writing the book was consultings and training guys before they redeployed before they went to iraq and afghanistan other bomb technicians. i felt like we were doing the best we could. we were training them as well as we could in the technical spread yours -- procedures but we couldn't train them on the most important part which was how does it feel to get shot at? and how maybe more importantly, how does it feel to shoot back
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and how does it feel to actually put somebody in your cross hairs the first time? and not somebody with a gun, but a woman or a child in your cross hairs for the first time and you sphwoand pull the trigger? what does it feel like to walk, you know, through piles of what used to be people while you're picking up the pieces of a car bomb. i can't teach them what it feels like. now, we were teaching them the technical parts to get them home. i don't know what we could have done to actually impart that and if you can't impart that to the soldier that's about to dpe deploy, i don't know how to teach the average u.s. citizens what the actual implications are when we do or do not take, you know, some military action. who is next?
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>> so many of the suicide bombings and the ieds i don't know intentionally or inned a verptly killed iraqis or afghan afghany. right. in some way it seems insane as a strategy for the terrorists to try to win back their country. i guess two question, if i may. one is, in directing with native iraq i iys i was curious if you gleaned any perspective from them of the strategy, and what was your an your fellow soldier 's take on this as you saw this craziness as it approached you? >> i think the first part of
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that is it's easy to say the terrorists, but the terrorists is 20, a, 150 different groups depending on what town you are in and which tribe is which is local. it was curds and arabs fighting mostly over the control of the city. and down in neighborhoods in baghdad it's sewnies. we felt like we were caught in the middle. it wasn't that they were inned a inventorially killing iraq i cans accidentally. it's that they were purposely killing each other and we happened to be there caught in the middle. so the perspective was talking to, you know, and part of part of my tour and part of the frustrating thing or something i learned later how insulated we
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were from the average iraqi. i hardly talked to the average iraqi. i would talk to average iraq i can police on a call. therelittle interaction. i'm talking to people fucially and they have been fighting each other for, you know, a very long time. so this was just one more step and whether we were there or not wasn't really as, you know, wasn't as really -- not relevant. i guess to them and their grand schemef things. we would leaf eventually. and, you know, we did. and our -- i really hesitate to speak for the average guy. i can speak for myself, anyway. but i know that we felt like -- i shouldn't say. i felt like we're trying to help but you don't always know what helping look like. you trying to stop them from killing each other, but you seem more interested than they do.
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and so it turns in to a why am i -- why am i coming out to do this if, you know, a lot of these car bombs we would get a grid coordinate and casualty number, and we would say,up, it was a car bomb, and nobody wants to talk and you go to the next one. you weren't necessarily collecting tons of evidence. what i told myself was every day, we took apart every ied no matter what. it's your job, no matter who it's targeting. u.s. forces, iraq i cans, curds, school, convoy whatever the case may be. you take them apart. it doesn't matter who the target is. so you should -- if you're just doing -- you can't solve a whole problem. you can take care of this right now, the kids playing over there won't step on it. and your view has to get narrow
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and you can't -- all the other things don't matter so much day-to-day, i guess. yes? >> chance to read your book i understand it's written in a nonlinear fiction jumping back and forth between your deployment and home. whey read that what immediately came to might was the "slaughter house five." p. which is written presumely in the same kind of format. i'm wondering for you have read that. and also, that book starts with the line "billy pilgrim has come unstuck in time." i wonder when you talk about the crazy with the capital c does it feel like you become unstuck in time drifting back and forth between the two places? >> yes, i'm a huge fan.
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and i loathe to admit that. the comparison makes me uncomfortable. there's something about unworthy to tie a sandal strap but yeah, i definitely read "slaughter house five" before i wrote the book. i didn't intentionally model anything there. but the sentiment, absolutely. i guess i look on box a little bit differently than i used to. i see a lot of war stories where i didn't see war stories before. and maybe, you know, there's a lot of examples, but two -- but you had to go to fiction based upon his all of bombing of dress din, of course, to be able to write that. lot of other writers who experience something too. they go to fiction too. they go farther out. two of the best examples are
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actually [inaudible] which maybe are not names you were exec. they served in the tremplegs in world war i. i think they both fought. i'm going to get -- the facts wrong a little bit there. they, you know, were wounded, and, you know, they green dragon which the cloud of chlorine gas that come across the landscape and settle in to the trenches. i read something recently that by 1918, nearly every single one of his friends was dead. how did he deal with that? well twenty five years later, he writes, you know, story to make sense of it maybe not to get too much in his head that involve he need to develop the fantastic world where things work out right in the end. cs lewis did the same thing in the "chronicals of narn ya." lots of terrible things happen and the book works out.
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it ends in the way not what you were expecting. i think a lot of authors or writers the war happens to them and they need to make sense of it somehow and reaching to come unstuck in time, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. >> [inaudible] was also a wounded warrior and it was the after his wounds recovering from the wounds that he started thinking about the society of jesus and the spirit. and he wrote or dictated an auto biography, and i wonder if you have looked a the the autobiography. >> it's sitting on my shelf. an all of my former, you know, professors at market and the current ones probably wish i have more than sitting on the
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shelf and actually read it. the, you know, when i talk the whole thing about you take every ied no matter what. the words i didn't use was social justice. that's the word i used in my head at the time. which is of course, -- which is a huge part of the movement depending how you want to put it. >>ly pick it up. i promise. [laughter] it'll go to the top of my list now that i've admitted that. >> among your comrades in iraq, did they expect any feelings again the people who created the war on [inaudible] >> no. because like i said, it's, you know, when you sit around the fire pit at the end of the day, it's just not -- it's just not what you talk about.
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you talk about the living through the day, you talked about the call you went on. what you need to do -- what you need to do the next day, and, you know, maybe afterwards what it's done. there's a lot of veterans that get politically active afterwards. i can understand that, that's a natural outgrowth. i did this, i want to make sure it didn't happen again. when we were there it didn't -- we talk about whether the robot batteries were charged and get your we have a raid them tomorrow. is everybody ready. those kinds of things. expwhri have a cousin who unfortunately after came back from vietnam didn't receive the help he needed lently, emotionally, even physical ended up murdering his fiancé after
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and committed suicide. we as family i wonder from your standpoint is there anything that people like ourselves are gathered tonight whether we have relatives or not involved with the war like iraq or afghanistan can do whether at vitamins hospital or the church groups or neighborhood organizations. individuals anything that you can say try this or visit here or, you know, and not just for the individual for the wife of or the children of or any idea you might have. i didn't write a happy book or the self-help book. i wish started on chapter to ten it turned in to do these steps. what worked for me -- i shouldn't even say what worked for me, because i'm not sure.
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it's just you kind of put things in a better place. you put it in a -- excuse me, you just choose not to look at it every day is a better way to put it. so i would say that maybe the couple of pieces of feedback from my experience are, one, it was a physical sensation and it wasn't -- i didn't know that the war was a problem was "the problem." it was a couple of years ladies and gentlemenning with i have -- i have a marriage and a kids and the normal stressors. why would it be this and not anything else? i didn't -- i needed somebody to get me there. and i think partly that comes from in my particular job, your so mission focused and getting the job done every day and the job is, if the job is still get the kids up, and get them to
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school, and, you know, make dinner and do whatever you need to do, you're going do this a every single day. you traded one mission for another. i would -- i didn't get myself to the right place. i'm not sure i would have gotten myself to the right place. so i don't -- you know, i'm not -- i guess i'm not advocating anything in particular. not like an intervention on every case or whatever else. but just the maybe the perspective that the average ptsd warnings signings you see in the media are becoming more popular aren't necessarily it. ptsd is one specific diagnoses. you have to have these things to have. you have a bunch of other things that are fall in to different categories. so it may not be obvious to them, it may not be obvious to you, but maybe helping them get
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places. for me i had one more doctor's appointment and i showed up because that's what do you. you go to the doctor's appointment. right. or questions? >> i was struck by your saying of big abstract word social justice. in the same sentence in which you're talking about the here and now. and we're all living in the here and now, and social justice is up there somewhere. >> right. >> and the question of how you are articulate this was depends how deeply and completely you are emerged in a here and now. and i think you were deeply emerged and, you know, and some of us are and some of us are not. that's another story. but just a difference that's all. >> i guess -- i guess i'd say
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two things. i guess i agree with you. that there's social justice is a word doesn't mean much until you decide to do something today and not think about doing something today but actually . >> [inaudible] the kids that were near the bombs. >> you do something specific. but the other part is just to learn to be present again and letting help make me present. i go do a lot of yoga. you adopt have space to think about. and you become present and not only become present on a more regular basis. everybody has a different thing that maybe helps them to do that. i guess i grow with your concern sentiment is what i'm getting at. other questions? >> the question as much as a statement. i know, that the crazy is what you call it. i call you -- [inaudible] i think that your condition
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right now is more normal and sane than many, many americans who have never gone to war. i would say the crazy is expecting men and women like this to go to war and come back and not acknowledge what just happened, and i can't imagine any of that. and i would say the crazy is anyone in this country who doesn't advocate mental health. my question would be, i would imagine that everyone who goes to war could benefit from counseling and benefit from care. and i also want to say, however, that i think your reaction and your feelings and your loss of filters is one of the best things about you. i call that normal and sane. >> well, thank you. you know, my sister-in-law is a
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psychologist, ph.d. psychologist. we talked a little bit when i got back. happen, you know, well, you know, on tuesday, this happened. she said oh. well, did you get together for, you know, far group session? did you have individual and then you should go back as the group. she laid out everything that should happen. i'm like, well job, you know, you're talking about a week two week worth of stuff. we did four of those a day. we don't have a month for every, you know, every one of these. the military is getting a lot better about recognizing what's needed. it's getting a lot better about the time afterwards recognizing the sign fitness maybe getting the best about reducing the stigma and i just said i was in may i was down at the me more ya, i'm talking to a lot of guys who are in now and what's going on. a guy told me a story about his
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team and they had a really bad week. a really bad week, and one of the team members said, i just -- i just need to chill out for two days. and he did. they took him off the team. they plugged somebody else. they made him work. he did nothing but sleep and checked back in okay, i'm feeling a little bit better. that might not have been okay before. but it's, you know, it's better now. i guess the last thing i would want to say -- because i meant to say it before about how the relationship about how to deal with the family members and what's sane and everything else. the best compliment i have gotten from the book has been from a friend of mine another tech who said he wanted to buy twelve and gave him to his family and say this is the way i am the way i am. i hesitate to spoke for anyone.
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somebody else feels the say way too. i guess that makes me feel a little bit better and them feel a little bit better. i don't want to get too self-help about the whole thing but eod as a brother hollywood. maybe that's one more aspect of it. >> i'm going to -- a quick question comment that amplifying several of those. a couple of weeks ago you were here with an event from a novelist who written ab book about the african war. a fictional section. with him he came to hear him and read little from the book. a soldier who was a big in. one of the things that he told us was that the hardest thing for all of these guys coming back is that everything is normal when they come back. everybody treats them as if it's normal. i want to ask you about that. his argument seemed to be if people realize we're not the
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same people when we come back as when we left. that would help a lot. they treat us as if we're the same people. >> right. let me just -- the other part of that is that what you said at beginning about the sort of -- the insolarty of the group and we hear about how world war ii veterans never talked. they shut up and never talked. it seems to me there's a connection in the things. i guess that what i'm trying to filter or see what you think how we break the two thing. part of the thing is you don't talk, obviously, because of the difficulty of it. but then, you get treated as if you're the same person when you left. you're not. somehow we have to recognize that everything is different. i'm not sure you want to be treated with kid gloves or be treatly totally different or like, you know, you're the
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warrior. you don't need to be taken by the hand and shown with the bedroom is. you don't want that. so i guess i'm going answer with a couple of them. one is that you don't necessarily know that anything is wrong. you came, you did your job. i put away for awhile. and some world war ii veterans put it away for 40 years and never took it out. and i think that the culture is changing to make it -- more okay for me to write the book. more okay for me to talk about it. for the average guy to talk about. maybe it's more okay for the average citizens to talk to the veteran about it. but it can, you know, the perspective is so different, you know. i don't want the average citizens in the united states to have the perspective i do because, i mean, something
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horrible has happened to the country. you know, i'm jealous of the ignorance i used to have. i'm not -- i don't wish it on anyone. so what kind of perspective is required from everybody to treat the veteran correctly when they get home? i don't -- i don't know. you are a different person. i don't know how you can go through that and not be a different person. but -- i'll say it again. i hesitate to speak for for anyone else specifically and everybody is different and some want to talk and some won't. i'm not sure i answered your question by the end. >> you did. i think -- i guess that the other issue i was reading you can answer is how we deal with people, you know, our loved ones when they come back. it seems to me that we have to understand even if youring the drk acting the same. it's worth trying to figure out if there is something rather than pretended there isn't.
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that's what rich seemed to be saying that everything is the same. >> let's -- somebody i read something very recently where a veteran said i wish i could remember who it was. they said america didn't go to war. america went to the mall and so there's a country wanted to get back to everything being normal as quickly as possible. that was one of those things. right. >> i would i hesitate on that. i hesitated to put words in my wife's mouth in the book. in fact with when i wrote the book, she was hardly in it at all. my editor helped me and said, you know, we need like 5% more jees sei in here. we put more in. i put it in based upon the edits and recommendation. so i don't want to speak for
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her. she was incredibly patient, and incredibly loyal, and had a lot of opportunities to not stick with me and still did. and so if you can be patient and loyal with your lovered one. that's not the same person, then you'll be lucky. because that's what i had. i think we have time for one more here. >> it's not really a question. i want to commend if you for coming out with your story. it was brave. i know, your a ware your, but this is probably scarrier than what you had to deal with. >> i had a specific thing i knew how to do back there are. it's a little different. what i wanted to say is you're not crazy. what you're experiencing is a perfectly normal reaction to a very abnormal situation that you're in. you know, i know that now.
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i didn't know that before. i needed somebody to tell me that. the first time i heard that, that's in the military training. post-traumatic stress disorder is a normal response to a abnormal situation. you can hear it over and over again. it doesn't necessarily make sense to you. this is how it made sense to me, and, you know, put it in the right perspective, i guess. i appreciate that. thank you. so i think we'll call it god with that. thank you very much. [applause] [applause] we'd like to hear from you tweet us your feed back booktv. if you look at the history
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journalism started off in the country in 1704 as a very puny and unimpressive kind of enterprise. the first newspapers were very small, had circulations in the dozen and then in the low hundreds. they were really intimidated by the other institutions in that society especially church and state and compared to them, these newspapers were not at all important, and, you know, very much under the thumbs. but what you see over the course of the next couple ever decades is a process by which the newspapers become increasingly political in what they focus on, and they get to be bolder and bolder for reasons go in to in the book. so by the 1760s and certainly by 1770, they are in full throat expressing themselves on all kinds of the political issues of the day. independents from britain or
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reconciliation with the mother country on what -- if we break, what kind of government should we have in all these huge questions and the press becomes quite pan lem call during this period. it's often the product people are reading are often produced anonymouslyily by people who don't want to be known as political partisans. and that's the -- that's the nature of the press that the founders were familiar with. that press was very local, it was small-scale. it was very political. most of the newspapers had very little what we could think of as a original reporting, you know, non-fiction material. the staff generated. that was not in the cards. so, you know, as we see, you know, a return to a style today
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in journalism, it's not something that, you know, is unanticipated or country -- fit in to this constitutional scheme. >> who invented report ers? >>, i mean, we tend to think of reporters and journalist as synonym, but that was not . >> not at all. no, no, no. it wasn't until about the 1830s again here in new york city, another really inventive journalist named ben day created the first so-called penny press newspaper. sold it for a penny a copy. so he was going way down market. trying to reach the broadest possible audience. and to do that he needed to fill it with surprising and amaze things every day. fires, news from the police stations, dockings of ships. anything like that he could
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find. he wore himself out trying to fill the paper, and so he hired the first full-time reporter a man named george wizzer in. an on secure figure in american journalism history. i'm going to try to do something about that. >> when did journalism become a business that is that period you describing in the colonial period, it doesn't sound like it was -- how did it support i.t. then? >> well, most of those newspapers were created by people who were really in another they'd that is they were printers. and in order to keep their print shop busy in order to bring their customers in to the shop to pick up their papers, so they could sell them some stationary on the side or sell them a book while they were in there, they came -- they hit upon the idea of a newspaper as a perfect device. it expires every week, and later
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every day once the pace picked up. and so most of those first enterprises were a sideline of someone who we would think of as a job printer. that is someone who is open to printing all kind of stuff from anybody who had business. and then it's really around that revolutionary period certainly the early federal period you see the sideline disappears and a newspaper itself becomes the real focus. the first daily paper in the country is founded in 1783. once the cities get to be a certain density and there's enough commerce and population, then in the early part of the 19th century they get going and they really take off in 1830s. >> so that's when it's fair to say for the first time that journalism is a business? >> yes. it's clear by then. yeah. >> you can watch this and other programs online at

Book TV
CSPAN September 8, 2012 12:45pm-1:45pm EDT

Brian Castner Education. (2012) 'The Long Walk A Story of War and the Life That Folllows.'

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 7, Iraq 6, U.s. 4, Buffalo 4, The City 2, Kirkuk 2, America 2, Afghanistan 2, Stair 1, George Wizzer 1, Uni 1, Ptsd 1, Billy Pilgrim 1, U.n. 1, Brian Castner 1, Lahr 1, John 1, Jeter 1, United States 1, Hugh Hefner 1
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